This is a review paper that explores the uses of light therapy in treating depression, anxiety and Cognitive challenges especially among the elderly where effective treatment options are limited and often creating more problems than they solve. PBM is described as possibly 'filing a gap in areas where more mainstream interventions do not help to directly alleviate the highly negative impact of various forms of persistent anxiety, which often accompanies depression, nor pathways inducing associated feelings of sadness, helplessness, loss of interest in self-care as well as pleasure in daily activities in a practical as well as possibly in an observable functional and neural context.'
I have said for many years when I worked as a body-centered psychotherapist that what is often diagnosed as depression is more often the resulting state of chronic anxiety. The application of PBM has been shown to help elevate mood and provide people with more physical and emotional energy. The paper's author Ray Marks, commented on this in saying, "For vulnerable older adults who cannot exercise readily and do not respond favorably to antidepressant medications, it appears that non-thermal non-invasive applications of visible or near infrared light transcranial neuro-stimulation may be able to stimulate or inhibit targeted biological cells and tissues that undermine emotional health via a reproducible photochemical mechanism."
It is encouraging to see faculty from within elite schools within educational research community coming beginning to view PBM's potential as a resource for remediation of the serious neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions in the elderly. I hope they will soon look down the telescope the other way and apply this insight to the children in our society who're needing relief from the overwhelming anxiety and resultant depression wrought by living in this era of endemic gun violence and pandemic-induced terror. The tools are available now to provide safe, reliable, low-cost, easily deployed help to our children and older adults.
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